Sophomore Kyle Shadeck’s recent 400 Individual Medley (IM) win at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Tech Sprints meet was a stroke in the right direction with New England Intercollegiate Swim and Dive Association(NEISDA) Championships around the corner.

Puja Thapa / Business Manager

Puja Thapa / Business Manager

Although his time was not his best, Shadeck was not concerned. “My time from last weekend (4:17.27) was well off my personal best (4:01.76), but that was expected. I have been in the middle of some very intense training over the past few weeks… however it was still a solid swim, all things considered, and I’m excited to see how I perform at the New England championships next week while I’m at my peak,” Shadeck said.

Head Coach Chris Woolridge indicated his thoughts towards Kyle’s performance thus far in the season. “Kyle has been performing well. He has posted in-season best times in his 100 fly, 200 fly, 200 IM,” Woolridge said.

Along with his other accomplishments this season, Shadeck said, “This was not my first victory. I have won several other individual events throughout the season, including winning this same event against the Division 1 school, Boston College.”

Shadeck  also mentioned the importance of rest for him and his team, stating, “Right now, we are in the middle of taper, which means we are gradually reducing the intensity of our workouts so that we will be rested and at our bests when the time comes. From a technical standpoint, I am honing in on the fine details of my events such as having quick transitions and stroke tempo,” Shadeck said.

As for the competition, Shadeck said he thinks it will be “quite stiff” at their upcoming meets.

Excited for the championships, Shadeck has set some personal goals he hopes to achieve. “The ultimate goal is to qualify for the NCAA meet. Last year I came very close to qualifying, so to be able to clinch that spot this year would be awesome. It won’t be easy, but I do believe that I have a good shot at making it happen. It would be a huge honor to represent KSC at the national level,” said Shadeck.

Moving forward, the men’s swim and dive team will compete next at the NEISDA New England Championships on Thursday, Feb. 14 through 18. Shortly after that follows the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Diving Regionals and NCAA National meets.

In preparation, Woolridge and his team are focusing more on resting. “For us, the work is done. Now we rest up and head to our end of season championship,” Woolridge said.

Shadeck’s teammates also have a few goals of their own, including senior captain Antony Hubbard.

Hubbard said, “I mainly swim backstroke in the relays, 1000 and 500 freestyle, and have been performing decent so far this season.”

This being Hubbard’s last season, he said, “It is a crazy feeling that it all came so fast.” As for his goals this season, Hubbard is also looking to perform to his best potential. “For the championship, my goals are placing top three in all my individual events and relays, and hopefully my last meet I pull off some life time best times,” Hubbard said.

As a team, Woolridge hopes for overall improvement and feels confident in his swimmers.

“My goal is to have everyone improve each season. In this sport, it’s pretty cut and dry. You either go faster or you don’t.  But I feel confident that the swimmers are ready to perform next weekend,” Woolridge said.

He also added that his personal goal is to “have everyone achieve lifetime bests and see both teams move up in the conference standings.”

This year, the men’s swim and dive team is smaller than previous years but that has not changed the team’s positive outlook or numerous goals.

Shadeck said, “Our men’s team is looking to place higher at the New England’s [championship] this year than we did last year 4th at New England’s. Unfortunately we are at a disadvantage at only having 11 guys competing, but I believe if we stay focused and give it everything we’ve got, it can happen.”

Julia Eichman can be contacted at jeichman@kscequinox.com